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Savoy / Mont Blanc

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Jean Sulpice
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Grand Chef and Proprietor of the Restaurant Jean Sulpice
Ma Route du Bonheur in Savoy from Val Thorens to La Clusaz

I was born in Aix-les-Bains to a family of restaurateurs, so entertaining and sharing were part of my upbringing. As a teenager, I served my apprenticeship in a Michelin-starred restaurant in Le Bourget-du-Lac. Later on, I made up my mind to send a CV to Marc Veyrat (on blue paper). The four and a half years I spent alongside the, man in the hat, were filled with joy, tears and all the stuff of cooking and life. He taught me that there are no rules to gastronomy, it is based on inspiration, emotion and history. It was also there that I met a brilliant sommelier named Magali who would become my wife. I’ve always found it hard leaving my mountains. So much so I opted to stay in Savoy rather than accept Pierre Gagnaire’s offer to move to Sketch in London. I need to be in touch with the land, to feel it and hold its produce in my hands. So these days I live between Val Thorens and Parc des Bauges. A universe between the high mountains and snow. Twice or three times a week before sunrise, I take out my climbing skins and ski over towards Cime de Caron or Aiguille de Péclet and then come back down to my stoves.

Relais & Châteaux proposes its Routes du Bonheur for your inspiration: they are suggestions of itineraries that you can adapt to your preferences and desired experiences. Our advisors are at your disposal to individualise your routes and help you make reservations at our properties.
Example for a 4 nights stay from €797 *
* Minimum indicative rate per person, subject to availability, on the basis of a double room with double occupancy, including accommodation, breakfast and dinner (menu, without beverages) in the properties suggested for the itinerary.
Activities on site and nearby must be reserved by you.

My Route du Bonheur
Stage 1: 1 day, 1 night

Restaurant Jean Sulpice

Pleasure and emotions of a cuisine at the summit
Restaurant Jean Sulpice
Here at an altitude of 2 300m, the landscapes feel the elements. As a child of the mountains, the panorama inspires me. I was only 23 when we opened this restaurant with Magali. We wanted to offer a different and more creative gastronomy. For our part, we were carefree and really energetic. The Michelin stars confirmed that we had made the right decision. We’re open every day of the winter season and for two months in summer. My only regret today is that hardly anything grows in Val Thorens ...
Or

Hôtel Le Chabichou Restaurants & Spa, Courchevel

Family atmosphere and top-class cuisine
Hôtel Le Chabichou Restaurants & Spa, Courchevel
The Rochedy family are pioneers of mountain gastronomy. They showed us the path to follow. They encouraged us to never give up. Thanks to the Three Valleys ski area, you can get from Val Thorens to Courchevel on skis passing by Cime de Caron and Col de la Masse. A morning’s skiing before sitting down at the table of Michel and Stéphane Buron. The piste that brings you to the prestigious hotel is aptly named: "boulevard du Chabichou" !

On the route...

Find an Alpine Beaufort cheese

I love making nibbles based on Beaufort serac cheese, a cow’s milk cheese that is sweet and creamy. In the Vanoise national park, at nearly 1 600m altitude, a country cheese shop is home to some wonderful alpine Beaufort cheeses. This is where Gaël Machet (Michelin-star chef Julien Machet’s cousin) brings his cows to the summer pastures and produces some really flavorful cheeses, which are on my menu seasonally. To get there, walk towards the refuge at La Roc de la Peche and follow the signs for Alpage du Ritord ...

Arpin spinning mill

Established in the little village of Séez-Saint-Bernard since 1817, Arpin Woolen Mill keeps alive a family wool spinning and weaving business. Jackets, blankets, bags, cloaks, mountain knickerbockers and the renowned Draps de Bonneval are manufactured on century-old machinery some of which are included on the National Heritage inventory. The same gestures of shearing, washing, drying and carding the wool have been made for almost 200 years. The spinning mill is open to visitors and the adjoining shop sells products made on site. I buy my blankets there and also the felt we use in the restaurant instead of tablecloths.

Spinning mill

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : SULPICE

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Stage 2: 1 day, 1 night

Ombremont

A poet at work in the kitchen
Ombremont
Originally from the region, Jean-Pierre Jacob is the son of restaurateurs and is both a Grand Chef and a huge poetry fan. An artist who showcases arctic char, whitefish and pike which are all fished in the neighbouring lake. My wife Magali worked alongside him at the Bateau Ivre. The restaurant and two Michelin-starred restaurant are located in a wonderful park. With your feet in the water, looking out onto the seemingly endless expanse of the biggest natural lake in France is contentment itself. Pure and simple.

Close to the property...

Au Fidèle Berger, Chambéry

Cédric Pernot is one of the most gifted pastry chefs I know. The son of a baker, he has been able to reinvent the art of all things sweet in a tea-room that dates back to 1832, and whose walls and furniture have recently been listed as Historic Monuments. Chocolate fans won’t be able to resist his Candy! Chocolate truffles, griottes, macaroons and Saint Anthelme cakes are irresistible. I call into this Chambéry institution very often.

15, rue de Boigne, Chambéry

Beaufort cheese pie, Beaufort-sur-Doron

As soon as the better weather has removed the last traces of snow, I get on my bike. I like to tackle the passages alone. When I ride in the Beaufortain valley, I always stop at Beaufort-sur-Doron at the small Croës bakery run by Cyril Suet where they serve delicious Beaufort cheese pies and wonderful bread. A welcome stop before getting back on the road, facing the Mont Blanc glacier, heading for the Roseland dam and the splendid alpine pastures...

On the route...

Memories of Lac du Bourget

As a boy, I went waterskiing on Lac du Bourget. For me, it wasn’t so much a lake as a real inland sea. In the tiny port of Bourdeau, we used a point to jump off from a height of over 10m into the lake’s waters. My childhood memories always bring me back to this expanse of water reflecting the surrounding mountains. We would go sailing with friends. The Lac du Bourget: an enchanting place.

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : SULPICE

Calling from another country ? Click here

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Stage 3 : 1 day, 1 night

Auberge du Père Bise

A splendid setting for relaxation in beautiful simplicity
Auberge du Père Bise
The Auberge du Père Bise is a great home that makes you feel good. I especially love to come here in spring and autumn to take advantage of the terrific patio under the plane trees and facing the pure waters of the lake. A landscape that inspired Paul Cézanne’s Lac bleu. The Bise family have generously shared this painting by nature for four generations. From global stars (Charlie Chaplin, Brigitte Bardot, and Queen Elizabeth) to Joe Bloggs. The place is a true institution in the region. Under the watchful eye of Charlyne, the star twinkling above Sophie’s table is there as a reminder.

Close to the property...

Philippe Rigollot pastry shops, Annecy

Philippe Rigollot is as famous in Annecy as the Tour Eiffel is in Paris. Anne-Sophie Pic’s former head pastry chef set up shop on the edge of the lake with his wife to the sheer delight of the city’s inhabitants. A Meilleur Ouvrier de France and Pastry world Champion, Philippe makes pastries, chocolates and macaroons that are utterly beautiful, very slightly sweetened, really showing off the products used. I cannot resist his half-apple dessert...

On the route...

Via the Col du Semnoz

I head to this passage regularly either on the bike or in the car (the Tour de France peloton climbed it for the 100th Tour de France in 2013). You enjoy a magnificent view over the Tournette mountain and Lake Annecy in all its length. Heading back down to Lescheraines and then the Col de Plainpalais, you see the Chartreuse and Colombier mountains and a part of the Belledonne mountain range before reaching Aix-les-Bains, where I was born...

The market in Thones

I love the atmosphere in this little mountain market. Started in 1312 and always held in the village’s central square, the market in Thônes hosts salted meat and cheese producers every Saturday morning. Hardly surprising when you think that Thones is considered the capital of Reblochon...

Nut cakes and Tome des Bauges

In the very remote village of Ecole, you simply must stop at Le Pain des Belledonne bakery. Once there, ask for a nut, almond and raisin cake. It’s one of my favourites. You can also stop off at the nearby Tournette cheese shop, La Compote or La Fruitière de Lescheraines to purchase a nice Tome des Bauges cheese.

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : SULPICE

Calling from another country ? Click here

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Stage 4 : 1 day, 1 night

Hôtel Au Cœur du Village

A setting of excellence in the heart of the authentic Alps
Hôtel Au Cœur du Village
As its name suggests, this establishment is found in the centre of La Clusaz. A wonderful, new building made from wood, metal and stone. Contemporary lines and lovely spaces at the foot of the slopes. I love the intimate atmosphere in La Clusaz. It’s one of my favourite ski resorts, and as a boy, I used to come skiing here with my parents. For après-ski, the Cristal Spa and pool in the hotel are ideal ...

Close to the property...

Full Moon Party, La Clusaz

Who hasn’t dreamt of skiing in the middle of the night ? 2013 saw the tenth anniversary of the Full Moon Party in La Clusaz. Imagine skiing to the beat of a DJ set while the clock strikes midnight under the disco lights! With a mulled wine, music and skiing, this makes the evening a formidable combination and guaranteed to intoxicate ...

Reblochon cheeses from the Ferme du Picard

In the midst of the Aravis mountain range during the summer grazing men have continued the traditional Reblochon production, morning and evening. This farmed run by Nicolas Veyrat is one of my favourite suppliers of farmhouse Reblochon and Chevrotin cheeses. You find the scent of the grass and the perfume of the flowers in his alpine pasture cheeses. The summer pastures are grazed above Croix Fry. It is produced and sold on site. You can find in La Clusaz come winter.

We can advise you on booking your route. Contact central reservations :

1 800 735 2478

Indicate the code : SULPICE

Calling from another country ? Click here

Texts : © Guides Gallimard